Posted by: on November 6, 2008 at 10:00 am

The Sea and Cake, Car Alarm (Thrill Jockey)

MP3: “Weekend”

Not really famous for straying the course, Car Alarm is an album that you would expect to come from Chicago’s the Sea and Cake. If you’re into the band, then odds are you know exactly what to expect, and you will dig it. And why wouldn’t you? All the key elements have been assembled for a typically great Sea and Cake record: Sam Prekop’s smooth, breathy vocals, Eric Claridge’s impressive and tight bass playing, John McEntire’s jazzy and precise drumming and the jangly guitars of Prekop and Archer Prewitt. Like all their records, it is a combination of indie rock, pop, jazz and tropicalia. It is the obvious next step the band could have taken after 2007’s awesomely poppy Everybody, with a very subtle return to some of the electronic sounds of the previous few records (check “Weekend” for some oscillating keyboard work that makes us yearn for some of the blippity-bloop jams from 1997′s The Fawn).

After almost 16 years worth of stellar, reliable releases, Car Alarm mostly sticks to the same strategy the band always has. But, we’re huge fans, so we couldn’t care less. Never change, boys. — Aaron Quillen

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Posted by: on May 27, 2008 at 5:00 pm

The Accidental, There Were Wolves (Thrill Jockey, 2008)

Listen: “The Closer I Am”

Plaintive acoustic guitars, the calls of sea birds, gentle loops and programming, and the hushed vocals of a guy who sometimes sounds like Peter Gabriel: that’s the Accidental on “Jaw of a Whale.” But that description might also summarize There Were Wolves, the debut full-length from this collective of musicians you may have heard of. Led by the vocals of Sam Genders (Tunng), the Accidental also includes Stephan Cracknell Read more

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